Accessibility statement

María Ana Chavana Villalobos



  • BA in Applied Linguistics (Translation), Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo, León, 2000
  • MA in English Language Teaching, The University of Nottingham, 2002 (Supervisor Dr Barbara Sinclair)


  • Styles and Strategies Based Instruction. Summer Institute for Language Teachers CARLA, University of Minnesota, 2002 
  • Certificate for Overseas Teachers of English. Cambridge English Language Assessment, 1998


I have worked in language teaching for over 15 years at University courses, language institutes and private education. My early years in teaching include experience teaching to executives in the telecommunication industry. I joined a constructivist school where I taught English as a foreign language at lower secondary levels. Since 2005 I have had tenure at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León ( and I am currently on leave to undertake my postgraduate studies. I have run courses on study skills, language and culture, learner autonomy and giving presentations as extra-curricular activities for undergraduate students. I enjoy encouraging and guiding students in the process to access postgraduate degrees, at home programmes and abroad. My passion is to empower students and support them in fulfilling their lifelong projects.

I have a strong interest in the use of technology and autonomy in learning, and was closely involved in the setting up of Self-Access Centres (SACs) at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León and also ran training courses for facilitators of SACs through the Minister of Education of the State of Coahuila (2004-2005). I also participated in a tandem language learning project with Missouri State University, where undergraduate students who were native speakers of Spanish and native speakers of English supported each other in learning a second language through the web.

Other exciting experiences include the opportunity to collaborate as a COTE trainer, oral examiner for the PET and FCE and Academic Coordinator at a private language school in my hometown, Monterrey, a business and industrial city in the northeast of Mexico. In my role as academic coordinator, I was responsible for teacher training and teacher development courses, materials design, evaluation design and courses design for Business English, TOEFL and IELTS preparation and Spanish immersion courses. I was also liaison with Human Resources departments for the development, monitoring and evaluation of English programmes for employees in a number of large international companies.

I have extensive experience as an English-Spanish / Spanish-English translator, and until January 2012 I served as an official translator certified by the Supreme Court of the State of Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

In October 2013, I joined Languages for All, at the University of York, as a part-time tutor of Spanish and I have enjoyed the experience of teaching my native language and relevant cultural aspects to home and international students.

Since my first year as a PhD student at York I have collaborated with the Graduate Student Association (GSA), organizing the Family Network at the University of York and serving as students with dependants representative.

I share my joy for life with my husband Rubén, who is doing his PhD in Economics here at York, and our two little free-spirited boys, Iñaki and Iker.


Research Title

Dropout and persistence in public higher education in Mexico

My research is based on models of dropout and retention developed in the UK, the USA and Latin America and my objective is to explain the process and identify the factors that impact the decision to stay or leave a course of study in the context of public education in Mexico, particularly in the case of a highly selective and highly demanding course.  My study focuses on the student experience and observes freshmen and also students from the second year and above, and in both cases I explore the challenges they face and the way they overcome the risk of leaving the course, in the case of those who persist, and the reasons for withdrawing, in the case of those who decide to leave.


Dr Paul Wakeling

Dr Vanita Sundaram (TAP member)

Research group


Society for Research into Higher Education

Topics of interest

  • Factors that determine student success in higher education
  • Institutional actions to prevent student dropout in higher education
  • Impact of tutorial programs on student experience in higher education
  • Student readiness inventory for the context of Mexican institution of higher education
  • Critical thinking as part of the curriculum in higher education 
  • Use of IT in remedial courses to prepare students for higher education



Chavana Villalobos, M., Ramirez Diaz, K. and Treviño, L. (2013). Glosario de términos económicos, financieros y contables. Editorial Gasca, México



  • MA degree: Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT, Mexico)
  • PhD: Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT, Mexico)


Teaching experience

Teacher training

  • Academic teaching
  • Business teaching
  • English as a foreign language
  • Spanish as a foreign language
  • Study skills
  • Academic writing
  • IELTS preparation
  • TOEFL preparation
  • Business English
  • Giving presentations

Consulting experience

  • Learner autonomy
  • Teaching vocabulary
  • Language and culture
  • Techniques in foreign language teaching

Contact details

María Ana Chavana Villalobos